From Field to Forum

Written by Kelly Damewood on Friday, October 17, 2014 on advocacy, NOP, NOSB, policy, standards

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet October 28-30 in Louisville, Kentucky to review organic standards and to determine what recommendations it will make to the National Organic Program (NOP) for future rulemaking. In preparation for the meeting, CCOF submitted nine public comments that address a range of topics such as soil conservation, GMO priorities, and crop and handling materials. CCOF’s comments are below – read more to learn more about CCOF’s recommendations to the NOSB and the value of certain topics and materials to organic production. CCOF representatives will also...
Written by Laura McKissack on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 on CCOF

Farmers across the Western United States are struggling to meet challenges posed by one of the worst droughts in U.S. history. Farming is inherently risky, but the current drought combined with increasingly extreme weather patterns is testing the mettle of many. Organic farmers have always employed creative measures to increase their on-farm environmental sustainability, and in this month’s feature article, “Every Drop Counts”, you’ll learn about the many ways CCOF-certified members are employing innovative water technologies to cope during the recent water-scarce season. From wireless...
Written by Jane Sooby on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 on funding

The state of California recently opened a second round of funding to help farms reduce water usage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funds for the program, the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP), were included in emergency drought legislation passed earlier this year. The maximum grant award is $150,000 and can be used to fund pump improvements such as converting from fossil fuel powered engines to solar, wind, or electric power. The funds may also be used to replace flood or furrow irrigation systems with drip or micro-irrigation; and other ways to improve efficiency...
Written by Cassandra Christine on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 on events

A great deal of mud and an unexpected amount of rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who attended Enza Zaden Research Center's lunch on September 25.The soles of our shoes were heavily layered in mud as we toured the trial beds in the much welcomed rain. My tour group included group leader Erica Renaud, North America Business Development Manager of Vitalis Organic Seeds Seeds (the organic division of Enza Zaden); Paula Linton, Sales Executive of GreenLeaf; and Laura Batcha, CEO and ED of Organic Trade Association. Touring the beds, we learned about the challenges of meeting consumer and...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, October 6, 2014 on events


Three members of the California State Legislature recently joined CCOF on a tour of three CCOF-certified farms. The tour, hosted in partnership with California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN), focused on the climate benefits of organic agriculture. The tour participants—including Chair of the California State Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Susan Talamantes Eggman and Central Coast state representatives Senator Bill Monning (D-Monterey) and Assembly Member Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz)—visited Pinnacle in San Juan Bautista, High Ground Organics in Watsonville, and Pie Ranch in...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, October 6, 2014 on assistance, funding

The Bricmont Fund provides direct financial assistance exclusively to organic producers and processors/handlers who suffer losses due to extreme hardship. Since 2007 CCOF has distributed funds annually to members of the organic community who are in need. Curious if you are eligible? The requirements are fairly simple: Certified organic operation currently in good standing (valid organic certificate required for consideration). Have not received CCOF disaster or hardship funding in the last three years. Experienced severe economic loss in the 2014 calendar year. Submit documentation or...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, October 6, 2014 on events, food safety, get certification help, NOSB

October is full of events to help you grow your business. CCOF hopes you can attend and looks forward to meeting with you while we are on the road. The Western Organic Dairy Producers Association (WODPA) will be hosting the 2014 WODPA Conference in Rohnert Park, CA from October 14-15. CCOF will have a table at this year’s event, so come see us! GLOBALG.A.P. is offering a Crops Workshop and exam re-takes October 15-16 in conjunction with the PMA Fresh Summit 2014 in Anaheim, CA. If you are planning on attending PMA 2014, make sure you look into this workshop, as it provides an excellent...
Written by Jon Knapp on Monday, September 29, 2014 on biodiversity, grower, member news


Massa rice house

Massa Organics has had an incredible journey to sustainability. It began shortly after college when Greg Massa and his wife, Racquel Krach, returned to Greg’s family rice farm. They utilized their tropical ecology background to prime themselves for their next venture: organic farming. Massa Organics harvests organic almonds and rice on their 200+ acre span of land and employs a very interesting system of sustainable. In addition to their organic crops, they have introduced an animal element to their farm. In the past, their flock of ducks helped control the weed population in the rice fields...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 22, 2014 on assistance, livestock


The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to livestock producers that suffered drought-related grazing losses on specific types of pastureland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages eligible livestock producers to enroll in the LFP now. The USDA must reduce payments to producers who do not take action by September 30, 2014.  Livestock producers who may be eligible for disaster assistance include producers who have experienced grazing losses since October 2011. If you believe you are eligible, contact your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) and set an...
Written by Robin Boyle on Friday, September 19, 2014 on food safety, policy

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued updates to four proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FDA is accepting comments on the updates now through December. The updated rules include significant changes, such as: revised water testing standards, deferred manure treatment standards, and a more collaborative approach to regulating parts of mixed-type facilities — e.g. operations that grow, pack, and/or process on the farm. FDA issued the updated rules after receiving extensive public comments and information on the originally proposed rules, which the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 15, 2014 on materials and inputs, NOSB, standards

Now is the time to share your story and help shape the future of organic. Two times a year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) invites all members of the public to submit comments on what the organic standards should include and exclude.   The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—a committee of certified organic farmers, processors, and other representatives—review the public comments. Then, the NOSB recommends changes and adjustments to the USDA.     The NOSB will meet this fall to review a number of materials and documents set forth in its meeting agenda, and members of the public...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 15, 2014 on assistance, fees

The eligibility period for reimbursement under the Organic Cost Share Program closes September 30 for the 2014 fiscal year. The Cost Share Program helps operations manage the costs of organic certification. Under the program, an operation may be reimbursed for up to 75% of their certification costs, not to exceed $750 per certification. Certification expenses paid by September 30 are eligible for 2014 reimbursement, and expenses paid after September 30 are eligible for 2015 reimbursement. For more information, visit the program’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or contact your state...
Written by Sarah Watters on Monday, September 8, 2014 on events

The summer season is coming to a close, and if you haven’t made it to a “farm-to-fork” dinner yet this year, now is your chance! Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) is hosting a fundraiser dinner on Sunday, September 14, in Morgan Hill, California. The “Taste of the Santa Clara Valley” multi-course dinner — prepared by Chef Nicolai Tuban of Bon Appétit Management Company — will highlight the bounty of the farmers in the Santa Clara Valley. Support CAFF’s program work as well as local farmers attending the event while experiencing fresh, local, and delicious food at the peak of the...
Written by Jane Sooby on Monday, September 8, 2014 on inputs, pests and pesticides

CCOF encourages you to review California’s proposed plan for invasive plant pest management. A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) describing the plan is open for comment through October 31, 2014. In a recent press conference, Sandy Schubert, undersecretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), stated that the plan offers CDFA’s best assessment of on-the-ground pest management practices and details the state’s decision-making process in taking pest management actions. Laura Petro, CDFA’s Senior Environmental Scientist, said, “This report reflects California’s...
Written by Kelly Damewood on Monday, September 8, 2014 on education

The Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) at UC Santa Cruz is accepting applications for its 2015 Apprenticeship Program. A range of scholarship funding is available for interested applicants, and the deadline to apply is September 30th. The 2015 Apprenticeship Program The Apprenticeship Program is a six-month, full-time residential training at the 30-acre organic farm and 3-acre Alan Chadwick Garden on the UCSC campus. Each year, the apprenticeship program trains 39 adults in the concepts and practices of organic gardening and small-scale sustainable farming through...

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